Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spicy Cranberry Goat Cheese Log


This spicy cranberry goat cheese log is a fresh twist on a cheese ball and a perfect appetizer for the holidays. The sweetness of the cranberries and cinnamon brings just the right balance to the spiciness of the ginger and the creamy tang of the goat cheese.

If you’re pressed for time and who isn’t, especially this time of the year, you’ll be pleased to know that this appetizer comes together in a matter of minutes and also it can be made a couple of days ahead and refrigerated. Be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.



Fresh Market featured a similar spicy cranberry goat cheese log in their special holiday cheese this year and it was that log that inspired this recipe. I brought one home to taste and quickly realized that I could make my own with good success. If there is a secret to this cheese log it's the candied ginger. You might think it would be very sweet, but take a bite and all of a sudden you'll get a big burst of spiceness. To me, it's that burst of spice that sets this recipe apart from other cheese logs.

There’s plenty of room for personalization with this recipe – pistachios or pecans could be used instead of walnuts, substitute dried cherries for the dried cranberries, and if you’re not a goat cheese lover as I am, cream cheese would work, but it won’t be as tangy as if you used goat cheese and will change the recipe entirely. I’ve served this with table water crackers, which are a very neutral tasting cracker. I believe stronger flavored crackers such as Triscuits would overpower the log, but apple or pear slices make a nice companion. We chose to serve a red wine with this, such as Merlot, but a glass of bubbly would be splendid as well.




Spicy Cranberry Goat Cheese Log
My Carolina Kitchen, Sam Hoffer, serves 3 – 4
Printable Recipe

3 heaping tablespoons dried sweet cranberries
3 heaping tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts, pecans, or pistachios
3 heaping tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
3 heaping tablespoons sliced almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 – 4 ounce soft goat cheese/chèvre log, preferably made in France
White table water crackers such as Carr’s or similar thin, crunchy white crackers
Slices of apples or pears, optional

In a small food processor, grind/chop all of the ingredients except the goat cheese until well blended with no big lumps. Have a little taste and adjust accordingly. Spread on a plate and roll the goat cheese log in the mixture to cover the sides, patting it in with your hands if it doesn’t adhere properly, leaving the ends uncovered. Serve with table water crackers or similar thin crackers and/or slices of apples or pears.

The goat cheese log can be made a couple of days in advance and refrigerated, covered, until serving. You may have some of the topping left over. If so, you can sprinkle some around the cheese log.

Cook’s notes: Dental floss does an amazing job of slicing soft cheeses such as goat cheese. A mild, neutral tasting cracker is a nice companion for the goat cheese log so it doesn’t overpowering the other flavors. Can be made ahead and refrigerated, but be sure to return it to room temperature before serving.



For better viewing, click photos to enlarge.

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, and Weekend Bites at Simple Recipes.    
Have a great weekend everyone.

34 comments:

  1. A wonderful recipe! This goat cheese log must taste fantastic.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I like the addition of almonds too! I think cheese logs/balls scream 'party' and yours is very pretty Sam:@)

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  3. This is so christmasy and wonderful, Sam.

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  4. What a lovely presentation, Sam! That touch of pine makes such a difference in a photo.
    Love this recipe, too. The sweetness of the cranberries and ginger, the crunch of nuts and then goat cheese! My favorite. Total yum!

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  5. Hello Sam,
    This looks so festive and delicious. I love the way you have placed the cranberries within the goat cheese.

    Happy Christmas to you and your family

    Helenx

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  6. This is lovely and so perfect for the holidays. With mInutes to spare I will definitely plan to make this! Happy Holidays, Sam!

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  7. It looks gorgeous as well Sam. What a beautiful presentation!!

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  8. This is perfect for the holiday party. I have some chèvre begging to star in something!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  9. It is festive and bright ..the rosemary adds the perfect festive touch:) My girls love goat cheese.Thanks Sam!

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  10. I love this recipe. A few years ago we bought a pricey, cranberry-studded goat cheese log for Thanksgiving and also realized we could make our own for much less. This is yet another variation - and will do it. It's always a hit.

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  11. I believe this would be a treat on any holiday table. Bev gave me a piece of candied ginger the other day and I thought it was very tasty.

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  12. Hi Sam, what a wonderful appetizer for this time of year, like the fact that you can make it ahead of time. Happy Holidays!

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  13. This looks so pretty and festive, Sam! We are big ans of goat cheese. I like your tip about using dental floss to slice the cheese.

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  14. This is presentation perfect and looks so yummy!

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  15. What a festive appetizer for the holidays, Sam, and beautifully plated. I love Carr's crackers. I usually buy the ones with cracked pepper.

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  16. Fantastic!
    Sure to bring smiles. Happy Holidays, Sam.

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  17. It looks so pretty and festive for the holidays!

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  18. Looks SOOOOO good! This fabulous goat cheese log and a bottle of red would do me fine :)
    Mary

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  19. A perfect appetizer for the holidays. Will try this when you visit the kids. Happy Holidays Sam and Meakin.

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  20. I love the combination of candied ginger and cranberries. The cheese log does sound like a nice accompaniment to a glass of Champagne to toast in the New Year.

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  21. this looks wonderful Merry christmas to you both much love

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  22. It sounds delicious! I'm not sure I've ever tried goat cheese. Thanks for sharing on Weekend Bites

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  23. Anything made with goat cheese is a winner for me! What a festive appetizer ~you made it look so easy! Happy Holidays to you!!!!

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  24. I think Google just ate my comment--argh. It should try your goat cheese log! Looks delicious!

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  25. Hi Sam, We just got back from a Christmas trip to New Orleans and I'm starting to catch up on my reading... I'm not usually a cheese log kind of guy but I must admit that the combinations of ingredients/flavors in this version does pique my interest! I'd definitely give it a try... Take Care and Merry Christmas, Big Daddy Dave

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  26. You are so smart to figure this out Sam! I love everything about this delicious sounding appetizer but that candied ginger has me so intrigued...

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  27. I know I'd love this -- I adore goat cheese.

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  28. This is the perfect holiday appetizer, Sam. The tang of the goat cheese is perfect with the tart sweetness of cranberries. Candied ginger is one of my favorite holiday ingredients. I hope you and Meakin enjoy a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

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  29. I have everything I need to make this, right here in my kitchen, how often does that happen? It must mean I was meant to serve this on Christmas
    Eve --- Have a wonderful holiday, Sam!

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  30. Congratulations Sam!
    Your recipe is featured on our Special Edition of Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a very special day and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

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  31. I'd have to leave out the pecans but this sounds perfect for New Years parties.

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  32. How beautiful, Sam! If I get asked to bring an appetizer on Christmas I know what I'm bringing :)

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